Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft Band 2

3

RATE IT

It looks like a late-90s sci-fi gadget with a smaller screen.

  • design

    20%

  • battery

    60%

  • performance

    60%

  • software

    80%

Review image

Rebecca Paredes Rebecca Paredes --0001-11-30 00:00:00

One of the biggest gripes runners face when it comes to wearables is this: they want to be able to track their run and listen to music, but they don’t always want to bring their phone with them. The Microsoft Band, both the original and its latest version, deal with that issue by providing users a wearable with built-in GPS — but the battery life suffers because of it. And while the newest version of the Microsoft Band is being offered for a super-low $179, the best audience for this wearable is someone who wants a GPS fitness tracker with some smartwatch features … and who doesn’t mind wearing a chunky black cuff on their wrist.

Pros

It’s clear that the Microsoft Band 2 has a lot going for it. Its Microsoft Health app is designed to be a one-stop-shop for all of your health and fitness tracking, and it delivers — the software is compatible with Android, Apple, and Windows phones, and it syncs with other health apps like MyFitnessPal. Plus, if you love data and have ever wanted to see how your stats stack up in comparison to others in your age range, Microsoft’s Health software is the place to view it.

Additionally, the Microsoft Band 2 offers continuous optical heart rate monitoring, guided workouts from partners like Gold’s Gym and Men’s Fitness, and the ability to control music straight from the band. Want smartwatch features? You’ll get the basics with this Band — you can view email, text, calendar, and social media alerts in the Band’s “Notifications” section. Its battery life isn’t the best, but it’ll last you a solid 48 hours, depending on usage. In short, Microsoft has done a great job covering the bases that other wearables have failed to reach. What’s the problem, then?

Cons

The problem is that it looks like a wearable. It’s chunky, can dig into your wrist, and is too noticeably large to sleep with, which voids out the band’s sleep tracking features. It looks like a gadget that might grace the wrist of a late-90s techy with a smaller screen. And while aesthetics might not be a big deal when you’re out on a run, it is a big deal if you want a wearable that will track your activity throughout the entire day.

Worth It?

If you are fine with fielding off questions about what that thing is on your wrist, the Microsoft Band 2 is a fine and decent choice. If you want a fitness tracker and smartwatch that will blend into your wardrobe, look elsewhere — like the Moto 360 Sport or Garmin Vivoactive HR.

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